Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Book Review: The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don't Teach the New Survival Skills Our Children Need--and What We Can Do

The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don't Teach the New Survival Skills Our Children Need--and What We Can Do


The title pretty much sums up the book. I began reading this book over the summer. I was about 1/3 of the way through and decided to stop reading the book and return it to the library. Why? Because there was so much great content that I was spending more time writing out my notes than actually reading the book. 


I recently purchased the book for my iPad so I could highlight and type my notes. This proved a much more productive method(and lead me to a thought on education practices) and allowed me to not only take away key passages, but also allowed for fluid reading.


There is so much great info in this book. As I currently help operate an online global project with 600+ elementary students, I found many things in this book to hold merit and raise valid questions about education. Combine this with my recent visit to High Tech High(which was included in the book) and not only understand the need for some change to education, but demand it to happen. The great thing is that change is happening. 


Essentially, the author discusses 7 Essential Survival Skills that all students need.


Wagner presents seven "survival skills" that students should be learning in school in order to prepare for college and adult life:

* Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
* Collaboration Across Networks and Leading by Influence
* Agility and Adaptability
* Initiative and Entrepreneurialism
* Effective Oral and Written Communication.
* Accessing and Analyzing Information
* Curiosity and Imagination 



Throughout the book he examines how these skills are being taught on the global scale and how much America has fallen behind the ranks in these skills. What is so great about his rhetoric and writing style is that it is not an all out bash on American schools. Being a teacher myself I have read plenty where teachers are just ripped apart. He focuses more on where things are going wrong and providing examples of schools that are on the right path to making change.


The skills shared here are all skills that everyone needs for whatever avenue of life they choose. Some parents and students are stuck in schools that they cannot escape. The great thing with these skills are that they can be taught at home. 


Staying current with the development and changes in education I think things are moving in the right direction. I teach at a fantastic school and we even realize that changes need to be made.


I recommend this book to anyone who has an investment in education(which is pretty much everyone). You will walk away from this book with a better understanding of what is needed for our students and nation to get back to the top. 


I will be using my 23 pages of notes for future blog posts on education, but since this is a review of the book I will save those rants for another day. A must read education book.



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